United States v. Chadwell

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Law
  • Date Filed: 08-19-2015
  • Case #: 14-30028
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Hayes for the Court; Circuit Judges Owens and N. Randy Smith
  • Full Text Opinion

A district court has the discretion to provide technology to the jury in order to view properly admitted video evidence in the jury deliberation room.

On August 26, 2012, Billings Police Officer James Ward stopped a vehicle driven by Anthony Chadwell. Chadwell immediately admitted he was a habitual traffic offender. Ward verified that information and placed Chadwell under arrest. Chadwell refused to grant Ward entry to search the vehicle. After transporting Chadwell to jail, officers returned and searched Chadwell’s vehicle. The officers recovered two plastic bags of cocaine, a loaded .25 caliber pistol, and an unloaded .22 caliber pistol. Chadwell was charged with possession of firearms and ammunition in violation of a court order restricting such possession. During pretrial, Chadwell stipulated to the admission of certain evidence, including a nineteen-minute video recorded from Ward’s patrol car during the traffic stop. During jury deliberations, the jury requested to view the video exhibit again. Chadwell objected on the grounds that it would unduly emphasize one piece of evidence. The court overruled the objection but reminded the jury to consider all of the evidence presented. The jury found Chadwell guilty. Chadwell appealed. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court has the discretion to provide technology to the jury in order to view properly admitted video evidence in the jury deliberation room. The panel stressed the difference between video evidence, other properly admitted exhibits, such as the prejudicial effect of a jury being allowed to reread portions of trial testimony. Therefore, because evidentiary exhibits are not testimony and do not carry the same risk of emphasizing certain testimony over the rest, they are allowed. AFFIRMED.

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